I keep a library on my desk. Sometimes I carry it with me. I’ve even been known to take the entire collection with me when visiting someone in the hospital. I have the same library at home too.
It’s handy and affordable.
The reason that I love this portable library is because it’s a gift from a dear friend. This collection of sixty-six books is more relevant than today’s newspaper. And I find out more about my friend, my world, and myself when I access this wonderful assortment of literal history, prophecy, poetry, and some of the greatest stories ever written.
My friend is a best-selling author. He knows a thing or two about communicating effectively…you know, the whole handwriting on the wall thing, just to name one. He understands the power and permanence of the written word.
My friend is God. The “library” of which I speak is the Bible.
Writer friend, understand that there is a unique influence that has been entrusted to us. No, I’m not suggesting that our words are on par to inspired scripture, but I am saying that God has entrusted us with a powerful tool. We have the honor of learning from God’s Word, and then teaching the great lessons in story form. Lets just make sure we’re staying in His Word while we’re trying to carry out this incredible task.
What are you reading in the Bible this week?
(see previous post for Part 1)
Our only weapon in the spiritual battle is the Word of God. Let’s be clear on that. The stories we write do not take the place of God’s living Word. In fact my stories are only effective if they are based on firm scriptural truth. I need to think of them as a “this is how God & His Word brings victory in place of defeat, light in place of darkness, life in place of death” applications of what God’s Word reveals.
So if you and I, as writers, are not feeding from the Bible, we have robbed our writing of its most powerful–life-giving–force. The kind that touches souls and not just emotions. And we are cutting our readers off from the only supply line that really matters.
So while we are well equipped for spiritual warfare, there is another great truth that we need to remember: we are not alone. Please re-read those last four words again. One more time–this time put “I” in place of “we”. Do you remember the last part of the quote from St. Francis de Sales that began Part 1 of these posts? It said:
…for without being seen, they [angels] are present with you.
We are not alone. We’re not alone when we pray for God to give, then bless story ideas. We’re not alone when we develop characters and story goals. We’re not alone when we bang out word after word after word, only to cut or replace many of them. We’re not alone when we stare at the blinking cursor on our screens and wonder if we even know what we’re doing anymore. We’re not alone when the story rushes out of our minds & souls like a flash-flood sweeping down a muddy mountainside. We’re not alone when we type “The End” or when we finish polishing that proposal and with trembling finger punch the Send button. We’re not alone during those tortuous weeks or months when no response plops down in our Inbox. We’re not alone when the rejections come. And we’re not alone when God says “Yes” and we sign a contract and enjoy the fruits of our labor.
WE ARE NOT ALONE! EVER! NOT FOR ONE SECOND…ONE WORD…ONE JOY OR SORROW.
God never abandons His troops. We are surrounded by a reality beyond the veil. Like the servant of Elisha, we need to know that the hills are filled with God’s mighty angelic warriors.
The reason that Christian fiction will never die is because truth is eternal. The forms used to express truth may be altered by culture, but the basic “nuts and bolts” of every story are the timeless truths that stay relevant from one generation to another: love, faith, honor, redemption, forgiveness, etc…
Even secular novelists rely on these staples of morality…these elements of a civil society. Most of the time, however, secular novelists are not looking to discover the source of those moral underpinnings. And since they are not seeking to discover that, their readers most likely won’t find them either. At least not in anything more than abstract ideas.
More than just wanting efficiency in the craft of writing, Christian writers hope to honor the God who gave us the truth. We stand upon the Bible, and seek to be faithful. We know our stories are vehicles. But we also know our stories matter on a level beyond this realm. And we know words are not just words…they are powerful tools, entrusted to us by God for the purpose of communicating His redemptive agenda.
Christian fiction will always be relevant because truth will always be relevant.